Addicted to Food

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Addicted to Food TV Poster Image
Rehab show is voyeuristic and deals with mature topics.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series underscores the importance of getting a handle of food addictions in all its forms in order to be physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. Mantras and prayers from 12-step programs are part of the therapeutic process.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The founders of Shades of Hope are recovering addicts, and use their personal experiences to help others. Some clients are actual therapists who do not have a handle on their own addiction.

Violence

Some mild arguing. Some of the addicts discuss wanting to commit suicide.

Sex

Some addicts discuss how they use food to cope with their lack of intimacy. Homosexuality is also discussed.

Language

Words like "pissed" are audible. Occasional curses like and "s--t" and "f--k" are bleeped.

Consumerism

The show is a promotional vehicle for the Shades of Hope treatment center.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Therapists discuss how they “detox” clients from food. Smoking, drinking, illegal drugs are not permitted at the center. Some addicts describe using laxatives to purge after eating.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this voyeuristic rehab series features adult food addicts in emotional struggles to recover from eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive overeating. Subjects like homosexuality, sexual intimacy, suicide, and drug use are discussed within this therapeutic context. These conversations are too mature for younger viewers, but it might be helpful to watch with older teens and discuss some of these issues. Some occasional arguing and language (“pissed,” “hell”; stronger words bleeped) pops up.

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What's the story?

ADDICTED TO FOOD features people with eating disorders undergoing treatment at the Shades of Hope treatment facility in Buffalo Gap, Texas. The program, which was founded by therapist and recovering addict Tennie McCarty, is designed to help people with all variations of food addictions ranging from anorexia to compulsive overeating. With the help of her daughters Kim and Karen, who are also recovering addicts, and daughter-in-law Camela Balcomb, McCarty works with people to help them address the core problems in their lives that are fueling their addictions, and to find new ways of looking at food.

Is it any good?

The series highlights some of the issues surrounding eating disorders of all kinds, including using food as a remedy for coping with life issues. It also offers explanations for the various therapeutic techniques that the program uses to help its clients.

Like most rehab-oriented reality shows, Addicted to Food is pretty voyeuristic. It's full of scenes where cast members share uncomfortably personal moments or argue with counselors and with each other. But it also offers some limited information about health, nutrition, and food consumption habits that some viewers may find helpful.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about food addictions. What do you know about eating disorders? What are the connections between a person’s body image and his/her relationship with food? How can the media contribute to someone’s food addiction?

  • Why do people agree to be on TV shows like this? Are they getting something out of it? Do you think being on TV can hurt or help someone's recovery process?

TV details

For kids who love reality television

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